HERE is the first look at ambitious plans to improve Millport's flood defences.

The project took a huge step forward this week as North Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet gave the project the green light for submission to the Scottish Government in early 2020.

The £27.5 million scheme has been put together after exhaustive consultations with islanders on Cumbrae.

The designs, showcased for the first time today, help reduce the risk of flooding for vulnerable properties in the town by creating an offshore breakwater connecting the small islands in Millport Bay and building onshore flood walls along the Millport shoreline.

David Hammond, head of the council's commercial services, says the exciting final plans have taken on board all the feedback from the community.

He added: "We have carried out four public consultation events so far, the most recent event being held in August, and these have significantly altered the development of the proposed flood protection scheme.

"We’re delighted that survey results showed that 90 per cent of people believe that the Flood Protection Scheme has been developed with appropriate involvement of the community."

The scheme will see a 120m long rock armour breakwater constructed connecting the The Leug and The Spoig islands and a 210m long rock armour breakwater constructed between The Spoig and the southern Eilean.

The blueprint also includes drainage improvements to minimise residual flooding.

A major element of the design also looks to enhance access along the Millport seafront for both pedestrians and cyclists.

The flood protection scheme proposals will also allow for potential marine tourism opportunities to be created in Millport Bay as part of a future project.

A Formal Scheme Notification will be submitted to the Scottish Government in early 2020 and statutory public consultation will be held shortly after.

Construction is expected to get under way during the winter of 2021/22 and is likely to take about two years to complete.

The estimated cost of the Millport Coastal Flood Protection Scheme is £27.5m, with 80 per cent of the funding coming from the Scottish Government and the remaining 20 per cent funded by North Ayrshire Council.